Hostile

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Audrey's POV

"Where's Aurelia?" Asher asks, first thing.

"She's... unavailable,"

"I need to see her," Asher insists. "She's a wreck."

"She isn't here," I fire back.

Like the Defect actually cared.

He pretends like he actually pays attention to Aurelia, but he's just faking it. All he wants is for her to get him out of here, and then he'll just ditch her. Aurelia's already friends with him; I can almost hear her fondness when she complains about him to Bianc -

Bianca.

"So you still look down upon me from up on your high horse?" Asher spits back.

"Don't make this worse," I caution. "Just be quiet or something."

"Am I seriously stuck with you tonight?" Asher complains. "I thought we were cool."
"We aren't," I say with finality.

"Wow, okay, ice queen," He leans back and I check my phone.

MyAmazingFiance: should we watch the defect tonite for Aurelia?

Audreyyyyy: well...

Audreyyyyy: i dont get along well with him

MyAmazingFiance: even for Aura?

Audreyyyyy: dangit Noah giultripping me

MyAmazingFiance: shes been through enough

MyAmazingFiance: ill be there too

Audreyyyyy: fine

MyAmazingFiance: k ill tell her

I groan quietly. Asher looks up at me.

"I'm guessing she isn't coming back," he sighs defeatedly.

"Why do you freaking care?" I snap at him, my nerves frayed from the heartbreaking trial and everything Noah was pushing on me.

Asher raises his hands. "Jeez, I'll stop."

"No, I want to know. Why are you playing her like this?" I suddenly feel a surge of confidence. I wasn't going to let my... tentative best friend suffer because of him.

"I'm not playing her," Asher meets my gaze coolly.

"Then why the hell would you be leading her on?" I demand angrily.

"I am not," Asher calmly replies.

"You are," I conclude with finality.

"Why would I?" Suddenly his tone changes, to more hostile.

"So you can be free."

"I must be the only Defect who ever actually wanted to become a Coleus," Asher mutters.

"You want - what?" I try to wrap my mind around that. Who would want to be demoted down to the most shameful rank in our society?

"Forget it. I'm not leading her on." Asher seems regretful he ever said anything, so I let it drop.

Noah comes down at just the right moment. "I bought milkshakes," he says, trying to balance all three of them.

Asher takes his without a word. I trace patterns onto it, not aware of what I was writing until I look at it closer.

E - v - e - r - s - i - o.

I angrily rub it away. My entire life was flipped upside down from the day I became a tiati.

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